2021 Toyota Avalon Problems and Top Complaints – Is Your Car A Lemon?

Engine & electrical issues are among the top complaints received by the NHTSA from vehicle owners

Updated on Author: Brian Jones

Launched in the U.S. in late 1994 for the 1995 model, The Toyota Avalon is the company’s largest front-wheel-drive sedan. For years it has been the flagship vehicle in the U.S. and Canada, as well as several other countries.

But, Toyota announced in August 2021 that it will end production of the Avalon in August 2022.

The Avalon is currently in its fifth generation, and it offers several different options including a hybrid drivetrain. The reason for its demise is blamed largely on the soaring popularity of sport utility vehicles (SUVs) and the declining popularity of large, luxurious sedans.

Avalon sales figures peaked at 104,078 units in 2000, and then started dropping. In 2005 they were still high, at 95,318 units. But the closest they have got to these in the past decade was 70,990 in 2013. In 2020 they dropped to an all-time low of 18,421. The 2021 figures, at 18,280 are slightly worse. So, clearly, sales aren’t getting better.

While the Toyota Avalon has a reputation for reliability, there have been lots of consumer complaints over the years. The first 1995 model has a total of 85 complaints lodged with the United States Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The last of these was in February 2014.

Lemberg Law highlighted complaints about the 2019 model in an article, 2019 Toyota Avalon Problems and Top Complaints – Is Your Car A Lemon? This highlights issues with the electrical system, the fuel system, transmission, and the sedan’s headlights.

There are 5 complaints on file about the 2020 model, all of which were lodged with the NHTSA in 2021. So far, there are 3 complaints about the 2021 model, one of which reports a crash. There are also recalls for both these models.

Click on other model year to view more problems: 2019

Most Common Problems

The complaints about the 2021 Avalon involve 4 components and systems. These are back-over prevention, the electrical system, the engine, and the brakes of the car. One is listed as an electrical system and engine problem.

It is surprising that there aren’t any complaints about the 2021 Toyota Avalon airbags or steering, because there’s a recall that affects both 2020 and 2021 Avalon models. The issue is that breakaway pins in the car’s steering column may have been damaged during production. Because these were designed to absorb energy and in this way reduce injury in a crash, the performance of the car’s airbags may be compromised.

2021 Toyota Avalon Complaint Summary

Complaint CategoryNumber of Complaints
Air Bags
Service Brakes
Vehicle Speed Control
Back Over Prevention: Rearview System Braking
Electrical System: Instrument Cluster/panel
Forward Collision Avoidance: Adaptive Cruise Control
Power Train:automatic Transmission

Electrical & Engine Problems

This complaint states that the electrical system/engine problem experienced has recurred numerous times. What happens while driving is that all the instrument control panel lights illuminate. As a result, the owner has taken the vehicle to a local dealer 8-9 times in an attempt to diagnose and fix the problem.

The initial diagnosis was that “there was moisture in the brakes, the brake assembly, sensor harness, sensor in the grill, gear shifter, and (the) hybrid sensor needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired. However, failure recurred.”

This time, “while driving, the instrument panel, warning lights illuminated, and the hybrid system overheated. The pullover somewhere safe message was displayed. The steering wheel was stiff. The brake pedal was stiff and failed to depress.” As a result, the driver “was unable to control the vehicle and drove into a ditch, was airborne and crossed to the other side of (the) road.”

Luckily the driver was able to drive away from the scene, but the vehicle shut down and failed to start. The vehicle was towed to the driver’s place of business. There were no reported injuries, fire, or deployment of airbags.

When the accident occurred, there were only about 800 miles on the clock. There was a state trooper on the scene but the driver didn’t file a police report or notify the manufacturer about the failure.

Don’t be stuck with a lemon. You have legal rights to cash, return or buyback.

The law makes Toyota pay legal fees.

We've fixed thousands of lemon problems. Message or call 877-795-3666 today.

Problems with the Back Over Prevention

The back-over prevention complaint is considered “very dangerous” by the complainant who believes it should be a recall item. The complaint states:

“The Rear Cross Traffic Warning signal is installed behind (the) rear headrest, which muffles the alert sound to barely audible, even when (the) setting is on high. Vanandergriff Toyota dealership in Arlington, Tx. verified this information to me after bringing my car in four times for service because I was not being warned of persons and vehicles passing behind me. I’ve called Toyota’s home office and (have been) told nothing can be done, as it was installed this way, although I am still asking they remove muffling material or change (the) location of warning equipment.

“It is very dangerous, as persons and cars are not always visible due to parking location or blind spots. This should be a recall item. All other warning signals on (the) front of (the) car work properly. I was told by (a) company representative to just use drive-through parking!”

After being advised to contact Toyota’s customer service and the dealership in Arlington, Texas where it was purchased, the consumer was told again that nothing can be done to fix the problem.

Brake Problems

The person who laid this complaint with the NHTSA has driven several 2021 Avalon cars and has had the same problem with every one of them.

“Every Avalon 2021 I have driven, or the dealership has driven, there is a thunk when braking. Every car, every time. A tech case was opened at Wesley Chapel Toyota and Toyota of Tampa Bay 01-02-2021. New car was purchased 01-13-2021.”

What to do if your 2021 Toyota Avalon is a lemon? Your Lemon Rights

Vehicles with recurring problems and issues that threaten safety and your ability to use the car may result in it being classified as a lemon.

If you think you have bought a lemon, the best thing to do is consult a reputable lemon law firm like Lemberg Law. We can help negotiate a settlement if it is indeed a lemon. We’ve done this for many clients over the years.

All you have to do is contact our Helpline. We will evaluate your problem and see how we can help.

The law says Toyota must pay the legal bills for lemon law cases. So, you won’t have to pay anything.


Brian Jones

About the Author:

Brian Jones spent more than 30 years working as an ASE Certified Master Tech and Parts Specialist at multiple dealerships. Brian has become an authority in the industry, traveling across the country to consult for car dealerships and contributing his expertise as a writer for several major automotive publications. In his spare time, Brian enjoys working on pickup trucks, muscle cars, Jeeps and anything related to motorsports.

See more posts from Brian Jones

Leave a Reply or Comment

Write a comment below to share online. Or, instead you can to our legal team.

Please select your star rating.

Briefly describe your experience Briefly describe your experience

What’s your name? What’s your name?

What’s your phone number? Please enter a valid phone number

Want to know if you could sue? Get a free legal evaluation from Lemberg Law?

Get Your No-Obligation
Case Evaluation

Send a secure message to our legal team.

What’s your name? What’s your name?
What’s your email address? What’s your email address?
What’s your phone number? What’s your phone number?
Briefly describe the problem Briefly describe the problem
Confidentiality Guarantee: We keep your information completely confidential and will not send you spam or sell your information.
By submitting above, I agree to the privacy policy and terms and consent to be contacted by an agent via phone call or text message at the phone number(s) listed above, including wireless number(s).